Thursday, April 28, 2005

Steve Chalke and the Atonement

I've been thinking of blogging on this for a while now, and have sifted through some interesting links and discussions. Then yesterday I findAlbert Mohler has commented on it, and I find our D. A. Carson has written on it in his book on the Emergent Church (all of the negatively).

Before getting to their comments, some background. Steve Chalke is a Baptist minister in the UK, and one of the most visible 'evangelical' faces in Britain. He founded the Oasis Trust, which does a great deal of admirable work reaching out to people society often ignores, and he appears often on television to represent Christian perspectives, or hosts religious programmes (such as 'Songs of Praise'). He is, I am certain, a genuinely caring, compassionate man, with the best motives in the world. All of this, then, makes what he has written all the more serious.

In his book, The Lost Message of Jesus, Chalke aims to details his view of how God favours the poor, and has a special compassion fo them. However, among all that he wites, he makes some brief comments that the cross was a demonstration of God's love, and that the idea of penal substitution is a form of'cosmic child abuse - a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed'. And so in the sweep of a pen, Chalke disassociates himself from traditional evangelical doctrine (central doctrine), and demeans all those who believe in the substittionary atonement, and worst of all, the God Whom the Bible clearly teaches ordained such an atonement as the central aspect of the Gospel. Indeed, one blogger in England rightly comments that

Chalke differs from earlier liberals in only two respects that I can perceive: he has written a book that is easy to read and widely popular; and for reasons that I cannot fathom he still wishes to be considered an evangelical, despite having abandoned one of the hallmark doctrines of evangelicalism.

The whole episode has been quite shocking to me for a number of reasons. First, Chalke will reach a lot of people with this, and will influence many people who profess Christianity, yet know not their Bible (a great number today - and for some of the results, see this thread, filled with many judicious comments, but also many exhibiting, how can I say, a great deal of faulty reasoning and ignorance of biblical truth). The second shocking thing I'll mention, however, is the position of the Evangelical Alliance (EA) in the UK. There was a debate, after which they strongly spoke out against Chalke's position. That was good. However, within a month, they had softened their position, partly (largely?) in response to the fact that there were many voices within British evangelicalism speaking in support of Chalke (again, deeply worrying). The head of the Evangelical Alliance, Rev. Joel Edwards, noted that while the EA statement of faith seemed to imply penal substitution, said:

It is not explicit, therefore the question we have to ask honestly and biblically together is, whether or not someone could deny penal substitution and legitimately remain in the Evangelical Alliance.

Wow. Indeed, they have orgainsed a symposium to debate the issue at London School of Theology (formerly London Bible College), for July 6th to 8th, which will include I' Howard Marshall and Joel Green as speakers. Now, I believe the symposium will come down strongly for the truth of penal substitution, and I hope the EA will strongly reaffirm that (indeed, indications are that the symposium is sided towards biblical truth). But a few months ago I would have never thought that evangelicals in Britain would seriously be talking about whether penal substitution is the only true understanding ot the meaning of Christ's death.

UPDATE: Read Mohler's Article again...noted that they EA are changing their statement of faith to be far clearer on penal substitution - excellent...I am very relieved.

A;so, it seems the symposium is moved to 2006 according to Mohler...can't find any more info online, but interested to see what comes of it.

There are some very good responses (other than the ones I mentioned above), and I list them here:

Punished in Our Placeby Garry Williams

Have We Lost the Message of Jesus? by Andrew Sach and Mike Ovey

Steve Chalke and the Cross of Christ by Nick Needham

Made a Curse for Us in Free Presbyterian Magazine

A Scandelous Attack on the Cross by Martin Downes

I could write exposition on the substitutionary atonement, but it would be poor compared to other resources. In particular, for perhaps the best brief statement (relatively) of the truth of the substitutionary atonement, go here:

What Did the Cross Achieve: The Logic of Penal Substitution by J I Packer

Finally, on Joel Green, who will be speaking at the symposium I mentioned, see these articles by David Linden

Recovering the Scandal of the Cross - Part IRecovering the Scandal of the Cross - Part II
The Current Downgrade in the Doctrine of the Atonement

A final note - I hope the get Carson, Sinclair Ferguson, or some other excellent theologians for the symposium.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

How can politicians just lie and lie part 2

A few minutes after my previous post, I come across this quote from Senator Leahy:

I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would refuse to put an anonymous hold on any judge; that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty. If we don't like somebody the President nominates, vote him or her down

What can you say? (HT: Powerline)

How can politicians just lie and lie?

Maybe I'm just naieve, but why is it that poiticians state over and over things they know not to be true? Shouldn't they be held accountable, or do we just not care, accepting it as part of the way politics is? In a recent article by Rich Lowry (who is becoming one of my favourite commentators), it is noted that Sanator George Mitchell, former Democratic Senate majority leader, stated recently that neither he nor any of his colleagues would ever have tried to get rid of the filibister like the Republicans are now. hmmmm. Lowry then points out that in 1994 Mitchell stated to CNN that the filibuster should be severely curtailed. And as I noted in an earlier post, in 1995 Democrats intorduced an attempt to limit it in the extreme (with the support of Kerry, Lieberman and Kennedy). In other words, the Senator (unless severely limited in his memory), knowingly lied. Am I the only one who is appalled and disgusted? From the lack of commentary on the way politicians act, there don't seem to be many. It would be nice if the culture would change and lying politicians would be held truly accountable.

Oh well, just an annoyed post...

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bible Loving Scotland?

I've heard my homeland affectionately referred to as Bible Loving Scotland, but sadly, if ever true (and it's probably a romanticism version of Scotland at any time - read the books by my former tutor, Callum Brown, who is an excellent historian on religion in Scotland), it certainly isn't so any more. I've blogged on the Scottish Episcopal church, and their willingness to ordain practicing homosexuals, and now I read this article in the Scotsman giving details of a vote by the students at Stirling University to get rid of Gideon's Bibles from student's rooms in halls of residence. This may seem logical in order not to offend students of other faiths, but it certainly doesn't support any image of Scotland as the Land of the Book (another misnomer, I fear, at any time in her history).

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Scottish Episcopal Church and Homosexuality - Part III

As noted in my previous post, a meeting was arranged for April 22nd, and the results were that the meeting was cordial, but no retraction of the bishops statement supporting the ordination of practicing homosexuals will be forthcoming. A meeting with the whole College of Bishops is arranged for May 4th, but change seems unlikely just now. Keep on praying...

Democrats Previous Views on the Filibuster (before it suited their needs)

An article in National Review, The Filbuster: Then & Now, points out that in 1995, Leiberman, Harkin, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry (plus 15 others) all supported getting rid of the filibuster - entirely. Guess it suited them then and not now. Back then it was called "legislative piracy" things change.

This fact should be made far more widely known.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Constitutional Option - Hewitt Summarises the Issue

Hugh Hewitt summarises the issue involved in the issue over the filibuster and the judical nominations in the Senate - this is what should be told to the media consistently, he argues:

"There was exactly one refusal to close debate on a judicial nominee in the entire 20th century, and that was a favor to a sitting Supreme Court justice about to be embarrassed by defeat who withdrew his nomination immediately afterwards and resigned soon after because of ethics problems.

Since January, 2003, there have been 20 different refusals to close debate on judicial nominees. This disfigurement of Senate tradition, disguised as the appropriate application of a rule intended for legislative debates, must and will end."

That sums it up as well as anything for me - now lets hope the media report it fairly (not holding my breath...)

For good coverage, go to Hugh Hewitt and ConfirmThem

Cookie Monster, Catholicism and Political Correctness

This article by Jonathan Goldberg is very funny! Sesame Street has changed some of the fundamental reasons for Cookie Monster's existence in order to be more politically changing his focus, Goldberg argues, they make him act contrary to his nature!!

It's a funny post, but I can't help but see parallels with my previous one. In expecting the Catholic Church to change to adapt to modern society and liberal pressures and agendas, they are trying to get the Roman Catholic Church to go contrary to it's nature, just like they've caused PBS to do with Sesame Street's Cookie Monster. Thing is, they're apoplectic because they haven't had the same success with Roman Catholicism as they've had with children's programs! And don't they realise how unfair they are being. Asking the Catholic Church to go pro-choice and support the homosexual agenda would be like asking the liberal commentators to be nice, balanced and judicious in the columns. I sure don't expect change any time soon from the liberal columnists, and they shouldn't be surprised at the lack of change by the Roman Catholic Church.

Update: Another short article, Is The Pope A Catholic. It seemed to come as a surprise to some.

Benedict XVI, Accusations, Evangelicalism and Reality Checks

I've been fascinated to see the process of the election a new Pope, and I expected Cardinal could be a likely winner. The liberal reaction to his election, from sadness and repulsion, to shock and anger, has been interesting to note. This Pope is not a happy choice for the liberals, as he is as conservative as they come on social issues (and, indeed, on doctrinal issues). No support for women priests, abortion or homosexual unions with Benedict XVI. Examples of the reaction from the press can be seen in this article at the Weekly Standard. The charges range from his being out of touch with modern society, being unbending and unloving, to being an active Nazi. In terms of being a Nazi Pope, the charge, I have to say, is below even the poorest of writers and researchers. This article shows A German take on such charges, and this article discusses the charges made by British papers. Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth, but he had no choice...every German child his age was at the time. Yet he left at the first opportunity, saying it was incompatible with his desire to enter Seminary. The baselesness of the accusations can be seen in the fact the Jerusalem Post contradicts them and is supportive of Ratzinger. Indeed, the low accusations against the new Pope stem, I would propose, from the hatred of what he stands for morally and theologically. The Post responds again to charges of anti-semitism against Benedict XVI, made because he believes the Jews should accept Jesus, by saying: "To all this we should say, 'This is news?'" It's ridiculous. What did the liberals expect from the Conclave? Did they really expect that their news coverage and liberal bias would move the Roman Catholic Church to choose a Cardinal (if one exists) that was liberal in the way they were? The need a reality check...the Catholic Church is a, wait for it, Conservative institution, that gets its morality from the Bible, not the front pages of the New York Times of LA Times. The whole commentary over the last week or so has been amazing to watch.

From my Evangelical point of view, for a few reasons I am happy that Ratzinger was elected to the Papacy. First, he takes a Biblical view of morality, from his pro-life position, to his pro-marriage position, he is on the same page as Evangelicals (well, as Evangelicals should be!) Second, he is strongly in defence of the reality of Truth with a big T, and against relativism. In his HOMILY AT THE MASS FOR THE ELECTION OF THE ROMAN PONTIFF, April 18, 2005 (see Hugh Hewitt's article for the text), Ratzinger wrote:

We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

Our present narcissitic culture could hardly be summarised better, and it is good to have someone so visible stand so clearly for the reality of Truth greater than ourselves. Finally, I think the fact that Ratzinger is Pope will simply go to further show the real differences between Evengelicals and Roman Catholics. No man has written more voluminously on Catholic doctrine, or so clearly and dogmatically that Ratzinger, and the differences between us are clear through his teachings. This will, for example, make things such as the Evangelicals and Catholics together enterprise of Neuhaus and Colson etc. far harder, I expect.

My troubles are simply what they would always have been, in that the Papacy is an unbiblical office, and the Roman Catholic teaching on soteriology is far removed from my understanding of the teaching of Scripture. Thus, as much as I am happy with their choice, I am more sad, as I believe that when tru Roman Catholic doctrine is embraced, it takes people away from the reality of Christ and His all-sufficient sacrifice for them, and that more subtly than most things that would draw people away from God. Yes, Pope Benedict XVI is very right on the reality of Truth with a big T, but as gifted as he is, I believe with all my heart that he has missed the most important element of that Truth, the One Who is Truth and the real meaning of His death and resurrection, and the nature of salvation...And thus I grieve.

For commentary on the new Pope from a position most close to my own, see:

Albert Mohler
Paul McCain
Tim Bayley

I would love to see Roman Catholicism and Protestantism./Evangelicalism united, but it must be on the basis of the Truth. May God make it so...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Apologetics - My Goals

I've been reading on apologetics lately, and two articles online that I think are good in outlining the needs and goals of apologetics. First, is Matthew Slick's article at his excellent CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry)website, Eight Reasons Why We Need Apologetics. The reasons are:

  • 1. It is commanded

  • 2. It helps Christians know their faith

  • 3. It attempts to keep people out of hell

  • 4. It helps counteract the bad press Christianity is often given

  • 5. It helps combat apostasy in the church

  • 6. It helps combat false ideas in the culture

  • 7. it helps combat immorality in society

  • 8. The schools are very biased against Christianity

  • The second article is Doug Groothuis' Christian Apologetics Manifesto 2003: Sixteen Theses. I won't outline the theses here, but the impetus behind them is covered in an introductory paragraph:

    Because of (a) the waning influence of the Christian worldview in public and private life in America today, (b) the pandemic of anti-intellectualism in the contemporary church, and (c) the very command of God himself to further divine truth, I strongly advise that the following statements be wrestled with and responded to by all followers of Jesus Christ.

    Having read these, and many other articles, I am aiming to cover several areas of apologetics in the coming months, perhaps taking one area every two weeks or month (depending on time), and writing posts on thoses themes. This is primarily for me, and if noone else reads this, that's fine, as my primary aim is in preparing myself as a good soldier ready always for the apologetic battle. If others benefit, so much the better. My first themes are lilely to cover ethical areas, such as abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research, homosexuality, and so on. As I go, I will hopefully end up with a good grasp of each area myself, some helpful posts on the subjects, and links to helpful resources. In ever darker days with ever bigger challenges from anti-Christian elements of our society, I for one want to be prepared.

    Friday, April 08, 2005

    Infanticide in Europe

    Wesley J. Smith points to this article in the Lancet noting that soon Belgium may move in the direction of the Dutch in legally permitting the killing of critically ill babies and infants, noting what took the Dutch 30 years is taking the belgians only 5. As he says:

    Such is the inescapable logic of euthanasia. Once killing is transformed from "bad" to "good" as a remedy for suffering, it doesn't take long before those who can't exercise the killing "choice" have it made for them.

    Our culture, even here in the States, with Terri Schiavo a prime example, is turning killing from bad to good...where's it going to lead us if it's not stopped now?

    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    Scottish Episcopal Church and Homosexuality - April 7th Meeting

    The information I received was basically as follows. The meeting took place today between the members of the Scottish Anglican Movement and the Scottish Episcopal Church leaders between 3 and 6 p.m. Accounts say the meeting was cordial, and David McCarthy wrote:

    1. We are still talking to one another.

    2. We will meet again on the Friday, 22nd of April. This will be a
    crucial meeting as we continue to 'discuss across difference'.

    3. We agreed that we would not talk too the press between now and
    the next meeting.

    We realise for some there is a desire for more news, but this is a
    delicate situation. Suffice it to say - We heard the bishops'
    concerns, and they certainly heard ours.

    We need to continue in humble prayer for our church and bishops.
    They are under huge pressure and our voice is but one that they are
    listening to.

    Be patient, and slow to anger. God is good (all the time!).

    Now, I sympathise with the fact that everything should be done to bring reconciliation between the two groups, and I realise that the bishops obviously have a lot of different groups pressuring them. But in the end, surely the one group (a Trinity, indeed) should be God. And surely that makes the deliberations simple?

    The Bible makes clear what God wants done in this situation - for His Word to be upheld, and Him to be glorified...and that would mean rejecting not homosexuals, but the active participation of practicing homosexuals in the body of Christ. In the end, patience must give out to Truth. The pressures to ordain practicing homosexuals are primarily from the world, of which we are not to be of...

    I earnestly pray God opens the episcopal bishops' eyes and hearts to His Truth, and that they submit to Him, not other pressure groups. But if not, then let those who are truly commited to Him come out.

    More updates on APril 22nd I expect (or before if there are any).

    Websites of Biblical Scholars and Theologians - Update 1

    Update: Sent out emails to a lot of scholars at evangelical seminaries, and got some reposnses (expect quite a few more)...I've added the first results.

    I've wanted for a while to start a page devoted to biblical scholars and theologians who have homepages that have a decent amount of useful material (and are evangelical in outlook and sound inthe foundational doctrines of the Bible). As I've started this blog, I thought this a place I could at least start on it, and I'll pin this thread soon, So, here's a start, and I'll add to the thread as I find more sites (please, anyone reading this, if you know of any, please recommend them - my decision on the ones I find useful and sound is final, but I accept a pretty wide range, and want this to be useful to others...

    Albert MohlerPresident of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary here in Louisville, and one of the most insightful Christian commentators around. His site has articles, a link to his radio program, and a link to his daily Crosswalk Commentaries.

    Robert A. J. GagnonAssociate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. His site has a lot of excellent material on Christianity and homosexuality.

    Doug Groothuis Professor of Philosophy ar Denver Seminary, and very well known Christian author. Site has many articles and book reviews he has published, focusing on Christian apologetics (also, links to his wife, Rebecca's site).

    Mike StallardProfessor of Systematic Theology at Bible Baptist College. His site has a lot of good articles worth reading.

    David S. DockeryPresident of Union University, and an excellent theologian and cultural commentator. His page has links to many of his articles and addresses.

    Francis WatsonProfessor in New Testament Theology, King's College, Aberdeen. Has several of his published and unpublished articles (including a couple on the new perspective).

    Wesley J. SmithSenior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, Smith is at the forefront of discussion of contemporary cultural movements (such as abortion, stem cell research and so on) from a Christian perspective. His site has a wealth of material, inncuding articles and a link to his Blog.

    Simon GathercoleLecturer in New Testament, and young evangelical scholar with ever growing credentials. Site has links to some articles he has published.

    Peter HeadNew Testament Research Fellow, Tyndale House. Links to a wide range of his published and unpublished work.

    Richard G. HoweWith his brother (see below), a Christian Apologist and writer. His site has several of his articles.

    Thoms A. HoweProfessor of Bible and Biblical Languages, Southern Evangelical Seminary. Site has good articles on biblical issues, and good reviews of Brian McLaren and the late Stanley Grentz.

    William DembskiSoon to be Director of Center fo Science and Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A site with a LOT of articles on intelligent design and associated issues.

    William Lane CraigExcellent Christian Apologist and Research Professor of Theology at Talbot School of Theology. Not with him on his neo-Molinist views, but very good apologetic articles at his site.

    Norman GeislerPresident of Southern Evangelical Seminary, and well know Christian apologist. Not much on his site by way of articles, but some good articles on the recent controversy over Clark Pinnock and John Sanders in the ETS and open theism.

    John WhitcombFormer Professor of Theology and Old Testament at Grace Seminary. About a dozen articles he has written on this site.

    R. Scott ClarkAssociate Professor of Historic and Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary. Excellent materials here from his taught classes

    David LindenAction International Ministries. A lot of theological work here, including commentaries on Isaiah and Hebrews, with many other articles.

    H. Wayne HousePresident and Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Oregon Theological Seminary. A good number of articles on theology, law, ethics and other subjects.

    Paul CopanChair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University. Copan has several articles, mainy on christian philosophical issues.

    Daniel AkinPresident of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. A vast array of materials from Dr. Akin on many theological issued. You could spend a lot of time here.

    Thomas COnstableSenior Professor of Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Constable's Expository notes on the whole Bible - a lot of material!

    Ron RhodesAdjunct Professor of Theology, Biola University. Christian apologist, with many articles on apologetics.

    David HowardProfessor of Old Testament, Bethel Seminary. Well known Old Testament scholar, with many of his published articles available on his site.

    Robert RakestrawProfessor of Theology, Bethel Seminary. Links to some of his published articles and bibliographies.

    Dennis SwansonSeminary Librarian and Direcotr of Israel Studies, The Master's Seminary. Links to articles, and also Swanson's blog.

    William BarrickProfessor of Old Testament, The Master's Seminary. Links to many of his articles.

    John Mark ReynoldsAssociate Professor of Philosophy, Biola University. Has many of his articles, and also links to his excellent blog.

    Wayne McDill Senior Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina. His site has over a dozen articles on preaching, evangelism and pastoral care, as well as a book on preaching available for free download. The site also has a blog.

    Alvin Reid Associate Dean of Proclamation and Professor of Evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina, His site contains around 10 articles on evangelism and Christian living, as well as a number of links on evangelism.

    David Black Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina. His personal site contains a vast amount of information in the forms of essays and columns on a wide range of issues from a Christian perspective, as well as a blog.

    Ravi Zacharias Visiting Professor at Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and a highly respected Christian apologist. His ministry website contains a wealth of apologetic material.

    Mark D. Futato Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He is also serving as the acting Academic Dean. His site contains some personal information and a handful of essays.

    Calvin Beisner associate professor of historical theology and social ethics at Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and an adjunct fellow of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. His site has a large number of articles on Biblical studies, economics, environmental issues and politics.

    Reggie Kidd Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Chapel at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando. Dr. Kidd’s site has a wide range of essays and class materials focusing on worship and on Pauline studies.

    Carl "Chip" Stam Associate Professor in the School of Church Music and Worship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His site has an interesting worship quote for the week with discussion, and a link to his personal home page.

    That will do for a start...really looking forward to finding out about more useful links - thanks in advance...

    Conrad Gempf Lecturer in New Testament at London School of Theology, London, UK. He has a blog which he adds to often with devotional thoughts, and the site includes some articles and book information.

    John Kilner Franklin Forman Chair of Ethics at Trinity International University, Illinois. His page contains links to a good number of articles he has written as well as book information, primarily in the field of bioethics.

    C Ben Mitchell Professor of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture at Trinity International University, Illinois. His page His page has links to a lot of articles he has written as well as book information, primarily in the field of bioethics.

    John Frame Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. This site contains a very large amount of his articles on a wide range of subjects, from a very well respected theologian. More can be found throughout the site: Reformed Perspectives.

    Rodney J. Decker Associate Professor of New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary, Clark Summit, PA. The site has some of Dr. Decker’s materials on the New Testament, as well as a wide range of links on New Testament and Theological issues.

    Alan Ingalls Associate Professor of Old Testament Languages and Literature, Baptist Bible Seminary, Clark Summit, PA. The site has a strong focus on Hebrew language studies, with some material and many links.

    Gary Gromacki Associate Professor of Bible and Homiletics, Baptist Bible Seminary, Clark Summit, PA. Contains several of Dr. Gromacki’s articles, and a great deal of information on his investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    P B Ryan Professor of Biblical and Historical-Theological Studies as Baptist Missionary Association Seminary, Jacksonville, Texas. His site contains many articles on theological, historical and Baptist issues.

    Jack Willsey Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and World Missions, Northwest Baptist Seminary, Tacoma, WA. His page has five articles on postmodernism, hermeneutics and the trinity.

    Ralph Wood Professor of Theology and Literature at Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas. Dr. Wood’s site contains articles on writers such as Tolkein, C. S. Lewis, P. D. James and G. K. Chesterton.

    Carl Laney Professor of Biblical Literature, Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon. His page has a link to five of his articles on theological issues.

    Gary Breshears Professor of Theology, , Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon. Links to a very wide range of papers providing outlines of theological themes.

    James Hamilton Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Harvard School for Theological Studies, Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Hamilton has links to a few of his articles and presentations on his page.

    William Pinson Jr. Distinguished Visiting Professor at Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas. This growing site covers Baptist distinctives.

    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    Leftish Language in the UK Elections...definitions!

    Conservative Home has started posting the odd blog entry on leftish language - pretty funny. See here and here.

    UK General Election for May 5th 2005

    This is my first UK election as a new resident of the US...going to be a little strange, but at least I can get the oddd bit of BBC news on TV! I'll be keeping up with the coverage at the BBC, and also here...I'll post as intersting things come up...

    In the meantime, Andrew Marr's column is excellent as a summary of the issues and serves as a good background to the election

    Terri Schiavo - The End of the Affair (John Leo)

    A last post on Terri Schaivo for a while is this link to an article by John Leo. He notes some of the most disturbing aspects of the case: the behaviour of some supporters of Terri, and their threatening behaviour and radical language; the amazing lack of liberal support for Terri and their amazing support of governmental non-intervention in family affairs, and the dreadful coverage in the media of the case.

    Another intersting recent item worthy of note was the recent poll by zogby (HT: Justin Taylor). The polls taken by ABC and other news bodies were very biased in their wording, and gave results that made it seem around 70% of the population wanted Terri to die. However, the Zogby poll asked this question:

    If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water.

    These were the facts in the case of Terri Schiavo, it's just that the media didn't really let the public know. The poll resulted in 79% saying in such a case, the patient should not have food and water removed, with only 9% saying they should.

    My final thought that just stuck me is this: the indifference of people to the whole case. The facts were readily availabvle over the internet at many, many sites, yet most people were willing simply to accept the media reports as factual, and not really get interested in the issue for themselves. That's worrying, for indifference could lead to many, many bad decisions in this country...

    Evolution's Unatural Selection of the Facts

    In a new blog, Michael Behe notes the comment of one of the most vocal proponents of Darwinian evolution, Eugenie Scott:

    They harp and harp on natural selection, as if natural selection is the only thing that evolutionary biologists deal with," says Scott. "Who knows whether natural selection explains the Cambrian body plans. ... So what?

    That's a big so what! Natural selection is a foundational plank in the evolutionary hypothesis. It amazzes me that evolutionary scientists will hold thier belief even when important facts that underpin the theory are taken away while dismissing non-evolutionary scientists as holding to a blind faith...

    The Passing of a Pope

    Pope John Paul II was undoubtedly a great man, and on many of the central issues of the modern day, such as truth against postmodernism and morality, very much on the side of the evangelical. However, he held a position that evangelicals (at least traditionally!) cannot find to be biblical, and more worrying, he had an extra-biblical devotion to Mary and held strongly to the Catholic teachings on salvation that brought about the Reformation. Albert Mohler posted a good column yesterday on the passing of the Pope that covers these tensions in the evengelical response to his life. You should read the whole thing...

    On Roman Catholicism, two books I would recommend are, The Roman Catholic Controversy (James White) and A View of Rome (John Armstrong)

    Sunday, April 03, 2005

    I saw a play...

    last night at the school connected to our church, and it was powerful.

    The theme was abortion, and I was amzed just how well the kids did (juniors and seniors in High School), and how it impacted not only yhe audience but the kids themselves, as they testified afterwards. It included some of the most pertinent facts, including photos of aborted babies (I refuse the word fetuses) in the second and third trimesters (fully formed, and obviously human), details of the procedures used to kill them, details of the fact that babies are born and taken to have the parts harvested, and sometimes when opened up, their hearts are still beating! There is no other conclusion other than the fact we are barbaric, when we kill our children, our weakest, most helpless children. Shame on us, and we will have an enormous price to pay. And for the 7 judges who voted in Ro v. Wade to allow abotion (i.e. musdre of babies) legal, what a responsibility they will hold before God.

    I also came across this report of Matt Drudge's firing from Fox, bacuase he wanted to run a story on his show about a 21 week old baby (in the womb) who was having surgery for spina bifida...the photo at the site show the perfectly formed hand of this 21 week old unborn holding the doctor's hand.

    Shame on us, and God forgive us...

    Happiness is

    I was away yesterday, as Cheri and I were at the wedding of a work-colleague of Cheri's. It was a very nice wedding, down in Princeton, KY, about a three hour drive from where we are here in Louisville. But best of all, it was our six month anniversary of marriage! God hes certainly been very good to me in giving me such a wonderful woman for my wife...I am blessed!

    Friday, April 01, 2005

    James White on Terri Schaivo - Darwin Killed Terri

    James White writes that he hadn't written until this point because everyone else was saying it all anyway (unlike me, who started a blog, even if little read, because I couldn't help but vent) In this blog entry, James White echoes a thought I had as I was writing my last post...that Terri's death is a result of Darwinism. As I wrote that the common theme in abortion and the death of Terri Schiavo was that we were killing the most helpless and defenseless among us, it struck me that this seems a simple result of survival of the fittest. James White's point, however, is that Darwinism simply sees us all as animals, biological accidents, and therefore not anything inherently worthy of fighting for. Indeed, reading some of the commentary, many bioethicists seem to think that Terri was no longer even a person. As White concludes

    Terri Schiavo is gone, but the forces that killed her are not only still with us, but they are now setting their sights upon doing more and more to continue to suppress the truth of God in culture.

    The battle is only just beginning...

    WORLD Magazine on the End of Life at Both Ends of the Spectrum

    The most recent edition of WORLD is out, and contains a great deal of good writing on the Terri Schiavo case, abortion, and end of life issues at both ends of the age spectrum.

    Terri Schaivo receives the most treatment. After the cover story outlines the issues, the magazine has five articles covering different and trubling aspects of the whole situation.

    1. One article discusses the issue of living wills and medical proxies. Noting the way in which hearsay evidence resulted in the death of Terri Schiavo (and theat hearsay from a person with at least conflicted loyalties), the writer suggests that both living wills and the appointment of medical proxies is the only wise way to go for Christians.

    2. Joel Belz makes the case (disturbingly well), that all of us have actually become practicing secularists. Noting the attempts made to save Terri's life, he notes that lack of follow-through. Noting ways the case could have gone differently if people had acted differently (not sure I agree with all his suggestions, but the first, that the President had taken a couple of the well-respected doctors who said Terri was not in a PVS and given them a national platform was great), he then notes that while to say we must foster a culture of life is commendable, we are not really living in a culture of life - we need to create one, a far harder task.

    3. The vitriol of some commentators and doctors against a supposed religious right responsible for prolonging the case is discussed in this article by Hugh Hewitt.

    4. The fourth article Gene Veith discusses what the Christian reaction should be to the whole episode, quoting Shaeffer's response: with "resistance, compassion, hope, and restoration." (He also makes the point that this was never about the right to die - Terri was not dying - it was about the right to kill). From the reactions of some Christians's, this is a must read article.

    5. Looking towards the debate that needs to be had (and no doubt now will), a final article discusses the role Oregon plays in all this, as the only state with a law permitting euthanasia, and with the Supreme Court going to rule later this year whether that law violates federal drug policies...the ruling could be a huge step in whether other states follow suit.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the magazine has an article on Florida and the abortion rate - 1 in 3 babies aborted last year - and how they are trying to combat the ever growing abortion rate in that State (is it coincidence the courts of that state were so heavily weighed against Terri Schaivo?) Another article tells of the growing number of women who are telling of the awful effects they have suffered as a result of their abortion (also including a disturbing interview with a woman who set up a website for women to record why they are not sorry). A final article details some of the deep-rooted Democratic support of abortion.

    The common theme I see in abortion and euthanasia, for thos who are interested to know? -simply that they are two different ways of extinguishing the life of the most defenseless and helpless among us...

    In Retrospect - Musings on the Tragic Case of Terri Schiavo

    Just a few of the thoughts that have been in my head over the pas couple of weeks regarding Terri's death (judicially sanctioned/ordered death), and thought I'd write some of them down, in no particular order, before I go to bed...

    1. Why was Terri given morphine if she was in no pain, and George Felos (along with many 'experts') were saying her starvation was a peaceful death...

    2. Thinking about that, why is it that the faces of those we see tragically dying in African countries of starvation and malnourishment not serene and peaceful (perhaps they haven't been fortunate enough to have 'experts' to tell them starvation is a gentle death)

    3. Terri is dead for many reasons, but one of those weighing most heavily on me is that she was simply unlucky...several people have pointed out that along the way Terri would be alive today if she had had a kinder draw at the bench, in nay of the courts (a single judge at the State level, a sympathetic judge instead of Whittemore at the first appeal level, a 1-2 desicion at the 11th Circuit rather than a 2-1 against). That her life in the end came down to the luck of the draw does not inspire me to have the courts legistlate in end of life issues (I don't know the alternative, but I don't like what we have).

    On the issue of the way the courts failed Terri, see William Anderson's article in the most recent Weekly Standard. In it he writes:

    To withhold minimal comfort measures such as water is gratuitous cruelty. But the judge must be convinced of his probity and rectitude, for he alerted every sheriff in Florida to be vigilant in preventing a chip of ice from entering Terri's mouth. And appellate courts declined to interfere with this travesty of justice on the grounds that proper procedures were followed. Thus they became complicit in the evolving tragedy.

    Much mischief is set loose when the uncertain judgments of medical diagnosis are conflated with the rigid categories of the law. Unlike coma or brain death, persistent vegetative state is a diagnosis that depends on subjective judgment. It requires a finding of unresponsiveness in an awake and alert person. Even skilled diagnosticians may disagree on this assessment. It does not necessarily preclude the possibility of improvement. It has no definitive laboratory tests

    Thus the diagnosis of PVS is not reliable in a forensic sense, and should not be used in life and death decisions.

    In the end Terri's death was largely based on unproven (whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?) assertions by at most a handful of physicians, the main one of which was a well know euthanasia supporter, even for people with Alzheimers.

    4. I've been actually slightly encouraged by the support from unusual secotrs Terri received. While several liberal commentators have charged the Republicans with pandering to the religious right, on Terri's side have been people such as Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson...much as I disagree on many things with these two men, I must commend them on thesir support of life.

    5. Another support has been the many disabled activist groups, such as Not Dead Yet. One of the posts on their website states:

    "It's time for the press to talk to the real experts on the Schiavo case - the disability rights movement", declared Diane Coleman, president and founder of Not Dead Yet, leading the disability community's opposition to non-voluntary euthanasia for a decade.

    "That's why 26 national disability rights organizations, including groups like Not Dead Yet, independent living centers, DQIA, and others have adopted a position in support of Terri Schiavo's right to continue to receive food and water," affirmed Stephen Drake, research analyst for NDY. "People on the right are killing us slowly with cuts to the budget and Medicaid while the people on the left kill us quickly and call it 'compassion' -- either way we end up dead -- AND WE OBJECT."

    It seems that many of the disability groups who have traditionally seemed so supportive of the left are beginning to see where the Left's ideology actually takes them. Among the eight things that the group states they want in ways of safegaurding the lives of the millions of disabled Americans are meaningful federal review in cases such as Terri's and a morotorium on the removal of food and water for people in PVS until the issue has been fully debated in the public arena.

    6. While sympathising with those who have been protesting, I have found the extremes worrying, with people threatening judges and Jeb Bush, for example, and people taking the name Christian while spuoting rhetoric that is anything but. I hate it because they do more harm to the cause of Christ than good, and give the liberal commentators food for their own rhetoric against the so-called 'religious right'. But I hate it most because it is not the way of Christ - it's simply wrong.

    7. I think it is monsterous that judges can rule that sustenance be withdrawn from a woman they are meant tp protect, and yet rule that her parents cannot even give her ice to wet her lips. And I think the step taken by Judge Greer, of not only ruling food and water can be withdrawn, but must be, is a historic and terrible step in the wrong direction by the courts.

    8. Just as some of the people supporting Terri spoke with remarkable certitude about her being able to recover if therapy was given (maybe she would and maybe not - but it does seem there was a possibility), so others have spoken with certitude of the fact she would want to die in this case - partly based on the hearsay of her husband, but mainly, I think, on their own perception of what they would want. Now obviously noone would want to live like Terri was, but if that were the only life you had, would most people want to die - I'm not so sure.

    Anyway, the certainty with which people have dogmatically stated that Terri would rather die than live is dealt with in a column by Paul Vitello. In the column, Vitello writes about his own daughter, who suffered brain damage at 10 months and was written off my most doctors as vegetative. Now she still has very little function, but can sometimes grab yuor hand, differentiate between two colours, and other such simple things. He asks a question all who speak with dogmatism on the obvious fact Terri would chose death:

    How can anyone know what constitutes another being's life-worthiness?

    How indeed?

    Vitello notes Not Dead Yet's stand:

    "We totally object to any cognitive test for 'personhood,'" said Diane Coleman, president of Not Dead Yet, a Chicago-based national organization of disabled people opposed to assisted suicide and what they see as a growing euthanasia movement in the U.S. "The use of such testing will inevitably result in the non-voluntary euthanasia of many people with disabilities -- based on society's prejudiced judgment of our 'quality of life.'"

    It's a fear worth holding in light of Terri Schiavo's death. Society's prejudiced judgement of the quality of life of many people may be rather less high than we thought, if the polls a re anything like a true reflection of public opinion.

    9. Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos, seems downright strange. Here is his record of an encounter with a woman in a nursing homs:

    As Mrs. Browning lay motionless before my gaze, I suddenly heard a loud, deep moan and scream and wondered if the nursing home personnel heard it and would respond to the unfortunate resident. In the next moment, as this cry of pain and torment continued, I realized it was Mrs. Browning.

    I felt the midsection of my body open and noticed a strange quality to the light in the room. I sensed her soul in agony. As she screamed I heard her say, in confusion, "Why am I still here ... Why am I here?" My soul touched hers and in some way I communicated that she was still locked in her body. I promised I would do everything in my power to gain the release her soul cried for. With that, the screaming immediately stopped. I felt like I was back in my head again, the room resumed its normal appearance, and Mrs. Browning, as she had throughout this experience, lay silent.

    Very strange...

    10. Finally, an article for the few who come here and have got this far through the post (I'm going to read it tomorrow properly) - How Liberalism Failed Terri Schiavo, by Eric Cohen.

    Good night, and my prayers go with the Schindler family, and as distasteful as I've found his actions, Michael Schiavo too...